The Fair Folk are born of the chaos beyond the world—ravenous, beautiful, and immortal. They stride boldly into Creation, taking whatever they please by force or seduction. Also known as the raksha, they seem similar to men and women, but aren’t human and could never be mistaken as such. Mortals don’t wrap themselves in proud robes of woven poetry, nor move with the grace of a waking dream, nor wear all the blowing colors of autumn and fire in their hair and eyes.
The Fair Folk hate Creation, for it offends the children of the Wyld. When the world was raised up from chaos, it shattered the purity of the Wyld, inflicting upon it an immutable center; the certainties of time; and other, subtler transformations. What had been free was now fixed. The oppressive weight of Creation’s certainties presses hard against those Fair Folk who enter the world; in its every aspect, reality announces itself as their enemy. The raksha have warred against Creation since its first dawn. Once, they came within a hair’s breadth of victory; perhaps in the Time of Tumult they will succeed.
The Fair Folk love Creation, for it beguiles them and fills their essential emptiness—an emptiness of which they were never aware, until Creation existed to contrast them The raksha are soulless, donning ethics and passions like masks and fashion; they’re not real the way a mortal is real, and must endlessly invent themselves. To immerse in the life of Creation—and dine upon Creation-born souls—provides another, intoxicating existence, which many fae throw themselves into wholeheartedly. The souls and sagas of heroes satisfy them best of all, drawing Fair Folk to the Exalted in endless cycles of savage war and equally savage love.
So it is that Creation has learned that the love and hate of the Fair Folk are to be feared in equal measure.
The raksha of the West are divided between the aquatic fae of the ocean depths and wild cannibal raksha who dwell upon miraculous isles. The latter paint their bodies, carve terrifying and impressive masks to frighten away the hannya, and prefer to extract dreams and souls from boiled flesh. Their whale-bone outriggers cut the waves like swift arrows when they go a-raiding.
The fae of the open oceans wear whatever sea-life features take their fancy. Some are swift and terrible hunters, driving schools of sharks and barracuda before them as hunting-hounds; others use their beauty as a lure, drawing sailors and dock-girls into the sea with cruel, sweet songs, crimson-rouged lips and nipples, and the artful concealment and exposure of surging waves.
Most prideful and lovely of all the Western fae are those raksha who have named themselves the Pearl Court and made their home upon the coasts of the Caul. They adorn their flesh in shifting nacreous hues, seduce the winds and waves into compliant alliance, and draw ships onto the jagged shores of the Caul with storm-song and false omens.